Judicial Watch • U.S. Spares “Noncriminal” Illegal Immigrants

U.S. Spares “Noncriminal” Illegal Immigrants

U.S. Spares “Noncriminal” Illegal Immigrants

OCTOBER 06, 2010

As federal immigration officials celebrate an increase in the removal of illegal aliens with criminal records, the reality is that there has been a drastic decline in deportations of undocumented aliens deemed “noncriminal” by the government.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed in a news story this week that more illegal immigrants with criminal convictions have been deported in recent years. This is driving up the number of people being removed from the United States, according to the article which was published in a northern California paper.

The story has a colorful graph that helps illustrate how convicted criminals have made up an increasing percentage of U.S. deportations in the past few years. Of the 350,000 removed this year, the story says, more than half were convicted for crimes. That marks a 55% increase since 2008, according to ICE data provided for the article.

While this may sound wonderful, the agency admits it’s essentially ignoring illegal immigrants who don’t have serious criminal histories, leading to a 30% drop in the number of so-called “noncriminal deportations.” Those figures include what ICE refers to as “voluntary departures,” illegal aliens who are actually given an option to return to their home country willingly.

The statistics demonstrate a shift in the agency’s priorities to focus on extracting the most dangerous criminals, according to the feds’ public relations campaign. “But if we are looking at a guy who’s just here with his family trying to better his life vs. a repeat offender, our priority is the criminal,” said a northern California ICE field director.

Americans will never know the magnitude of the agency’s selective deportation program because it’s illegally withholding data about its overall enforcement performance, despite President Obama’s promise to create an unprecedented level of openness in government.

Earlier this week an independent research center that monitors the federal government revealed that ICE has committed serious legal and procedural violations for failing to disclose performance data on how the agency is enforcing immigration laws. In doing so, ICE is violating long standing provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as well as its own administrative rules and policies set by the Department of Justice.


 

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